Boston Celtics return looking poised to make
a repeat appearance to the NBA Finals. All
of the main players from the 2007-2008 NBA
Championship team return save forward James
Posey who left for a big deal in New Orleans.
big three of forward Kevin Garnett, guard/forward
Paul Pierce and guard Ray Allen seem to be
comfortable in their roles and have help in
guards Rajon Rondo, Eddie House, forward Leon
Powe and center Kendrick Perkins. Powe, especially,
seems like a starter waiting to happen because
he plays well on both sides of the ball and
can finish in the paint better than someone
would expect for a 6-8 player.
coach Doc Rivers seems to have his templete
set and now only has to hope for no big injuries
to sidetrack his team's success.
expect a high 60 win season and the top seed
in the Eastern Conference.
The Philadelphia 76ers are learning to adjust
to new players similar to the way Boston did
last season. 7 new players on the roster including
forwards Elton Brand, Donyell Marshall and
guard Kareem Rush highlight the new focus on
winning now General Manager Ed Stefanski has
brought to the team since arriving mid-season
Iguodala and Louis Williams return with new
contracts and more expectations. Thaddues Young
looked sharp in the summer camps and early
in the season with a sparkling jumper being
his latest addition. The question with the
Sixers will be how do they get Iguodala and
Young to co-exist in the line-up at the same
time. Head coach
Cheeks has a lot of talent on his team making
it important to get a steady rotation by mid
to late season. guard Willie Green has come
off the bench and shot well from the mid-range
and three point territories and looks to be
a spark off the bench along with Williams.
Center Samuel Dalembert needs to work on his
footwork and moves in the post because Brand
isn't all post up in the paint play but a versatile
player who likes to chose his spots depending
on the competition and their height, speed
and other factors.
needs to make better decisions on defense to
help this team reach it's potential. The team
needs point guard Andre Miller to continue
to push the tempo and find people for easy
see this team winning 52 games and getting
the 4th or 5th seed in the conference.
Toronto Raptors made a significiant move in
the off-season acquiring forward Jermaine O'Neal
from Indiana for guard T.J. Ford (basically).
This moves gives them addition size in the
frontcourt but leaves them without the bench
point they had last year. Forward Chris Bosh
spent his summer winning a Olympic gold medal
and is the team's best player but needs help
from players like guard Anthony Parker, Jamario
Moon and former 1st overall pick Andrea Bargnani
who is going into his third year.
Jason Kapono is one of the league's best three
point shooters and can spread the floor. If
the team can stay healthy and plays defense
I can see them fighting with Philly for second
in the Atlantic Division. The team's struggled
to start the season and head coach Sam Mitchell
needs to find his core again or it could
see them finishing third in the division with
about 46 wins.
New Jersey Nets are putting the load of leader
on guard Vince Carter's shoulders so it will
be interesting to see how he responds. Carter
is the only one left from the big three of
Carter, Guard Jason Kidd and forward Richard
Jefferson. Both Kidd and Jefferson were traded
for younger players with talent between mid-season
07-08 and the off-season.
brought in guard Devin Harris from Dallas and
he's the team's point guard of the now and
later. His size should make for great matchups
and we saw glimpses of his potential on the
Mavericks' run to the NBA Finals a few years
back. Richard Jefferson brought the team forward
Yi Jianlian from Milwaukee, a second year player
with tons of potential.
the draft the team got a player I like in Brook
Lopez who should help in the middle after the
loss of Nenad Krstic to overseas. Bobby Simmons
also came in the trade and can help at the
three spot. Jarvis Hayes and Trenton Hassell
should help guard the perimeter and more physical
guards and forwards. The well-traveled Keyon
Dooling should help in up-tempo games and Eduardo
Nareja, Josh Boone, Sean Williams and Stromile
Swift round out a solid bench that can spot-start
depending on the team.
coach Laurence Frank's job may depend on a
playoff run despite the big changes made. He
has to motivate Vince Carter to realize his
leadership potential and no, all-star game
selections don't count.
team will fight for a 5-7 seed in the playoffs.
New York City, everything goes fast so if you
are the Knicks why not hire someone with a
uptempo style in new head coach Mike D'Antoni,
formerly of the Phoenix Suns. D'Antoni likes
a up and down type of game and has some players
in particular that could help including new
acquisition Al Harrington, Nate Robinson and
Quentin Richardson. Richardson has been re-energized
so far this season and will likely thrive in
the same type of offense he played in while
in Phoenix a few season ago.
team still has Stephon Marbury but he's been
inactive and will likely be released once a
buyout is agreed to. Eddy Curry could be a
bonus for this team and will no longer have
to share space with Zach Randolph (traded to
Los Angeles Clippers). The addition of Cuttino
Mobley will help at the two guard posiition
and TIm Thomas also played with D'Antoni in
Phoenix and should spread the court for the
slashing guards and forwards on the team.
see this team fighting for 40 wins and a
The Miami Heat return with a Olympic gold medalist
in Dwayne Wade and the number two pick in
former Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.
Wade seems focused from the start and has
many bringing up three words: Most Valuable
Player. Wade's ability to handle the ball
at times and his improving jumpshot have
made him even more dangerous and keeps rookie
guard Mario Chalmers and guard Chris Quinn
only having to do what they can handle. Forward
Udonis Haslem has been a strong player since
he arrived in Miami and gives more that his
stats would indicate. Beasley seems to be
comfortable on the inside and outside which
will help the team's frontcourt scoring.
head coach Erik Spolestra will practice with
many of Pat Riley's techniques so the transition
should be seamless. Shot blocking is a
concern for this team but they hope center
Alonzo Mourning can get on the court mid-season
and help with that. The team is short but athletic
and most of the players can cover multiple
positions on the floor which will help
see this team rebounding from last year's mess
and winning 45-50 games in a highly competitive
division to win the division. Oh did I forget
to mention the wily play of forward Shawn Merion?
Orlando Magic have one certain in center Dwight
Howard and not much else. forward Hedo Turkoglu
won the award for best sixth man but has started
the season with injuries. forward Rashard Lewis
has always disappointed me on defense and rebounding
and seems content to stand outside of the three-point
line neglecting his 6-10 frame. The team lost
forward Pat Garrity to retirement but added
athletic forward/guard Mickeal Pietrus from
Golden State so slashing into the lane is now
guard Jameer Nelson is fighting for his job
but Anthony Johnson is a proven veteran who
will help in the clutch. Rookie guard Courtney
Lee looks like he will contribute from the
start and the team hopes guard J.J. Redick
earns minutes and hits more three-pointers.
forward/centers Brian Cook and Tony Battie
will have a 18 point game every 10 games because
people are focused on Howard so much. There
is no Penny to Howard's Shaq on this Orlando
team so I see them fight for the bottom half
of the conference playoffs spots.
see about 48 wins for this team.
Atlanta Hawks finished winning less than 50
percent of their games but took eventual World
Champions Boston to game seven of the opening
playoff round last season. The team resigned
forward Josh Smith and forward Al Horford looks
to be the real deal and will continue to improve
in his second season. Guard Joe Johnson is
a underrated assassin who can do it all and
pointman Mike Bibby has stabilized the team
since arriving from Sacramento mid-season last
coach Mike Woodson seems to always be on the
hot seat so a decent start is needed for him
to keep his job and for once talent in Atlanta
isn't a problem. Crowds on the other hand,
well.... Anyway, forward Marvin Williams is
beginning to show the potential that made him
a lottery pick a few years back and although
the team lost forward Josh Childress to Europe
they seem to be fine when it comes to versatile
team hopes guard Speedy Claxton will be a good
backup to Bibby and provide some championship
experience on the floor and forward/guard Maurice
Evans seems to get on a playoff team wherever
he goes, playing defense and doing a bit of
again, this team will fight for those last
three spots because they are young and still
make young mistakes. I see about 46 wins.
The Washington Wizards have fired Eddie Jordan
less than 20 games into the season and they
haven't even have two of their starters in
recent resignee Gilbert Arenas and center Brendan
Heywood. The team is still playing with two
all-star caliber players in Antwan Jamison
and Caron Butler but need more play from their
point guard position.
Daniels is a decent bench guy and spot-starter
but nothing you want to play all season long.
Juan Dixon can help with that problem and be
a valuable free agent signee. DeShawn Stevenson
is a decent backup but needs to step it up
offensively before he gives LeBron posterboard
material for the playoffs. Andrey Blanche has
been decent in a limited role and the team
needs Etan Thomas to return for his blocked
shots and hustle.
JaVale McGee is former USC women's basketball
great Pamela McGee's son and should give
the team more size to contest the teams in
the Southeast. Darius Songalia will bring some
energy and beef to the frontcourt also. Nick
Young is playing well in Arenas place and
should continue with that but scoring isn't
the teams' problem. The team can score but
defense will be a priority for this team to
make it's fourth straight playoff appearance.
see them going 30-35 wins and no playoffs this
The Charlotte Bobcats decided to get some
experience on the sidelines and hired Larry
Brown, a University of North Carolina guy,
as head coach. The team has questions at every
position and no one player is off the trading
block if someone great came along. Raymond
Felton had a nice season last year but will
be pushed for a starting spot by rookie D.J.
Augustin, formerly of the University of Texas.
Felton has to show that he's the point guard
Larry Brown covets in his offenses or a move
in position or team might happen. Look for
Brown to also try playing both mentioned players
in the same backcourt at times.
the swingman position, Jason Richardson is
the team's leading scorer but started the season
hobbled with injuries. Once he gets back he
should start next to small forward Gerald Wallace
who can do a bit of everything and is not great
at anything. Emeka Okafor got a new contract
in the off-season but it's still not clear
if he's better suited to be a center or a power
forward. Okafor is a rock for the team who
averages a double-double every night.
Morrison will be given every opportunity
to crack the rotation and show he can score
in the league and fulfill some of his promise.
Morrison was out of commission last season
(in majority) and needs to show he can
knock down those three pointers and mid-range
shots he did at Gonzaga a few years back. If
so, look for Morrison to rise like Mike Dunleavy
did for the Pacers last season.
team will struggle to reach 35 wins but that's
an improvement and stepping stone with Larry
Brown. Can Michael Jordan suit up one more
Cleveland Cavaliers went out and got Mo Williams
from Milwaukee and he will add scoring to the
team who lacked a second fiddle for most of
LeBron James' tenure. James is the best player
in the game and has a gold medal from Beijing
to boot but many are already talking about
his free agency status in 2010. The talk could
be a distraction to the team and head coach
Mike Brown has to do his best to keep the team
Ilgauskas is steady at center but is getting
older. Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao are
energy guys whether starting or coming off
the bench but the team needs more scoring.
Daniel Gibson will help off the bench but needs
to handle the ball better to get more time.
Delonte West re-signed with the team and can
be another player to provide some scoring off
the bench. Wally Szczerbiak can move LeBron
to the two-guard from time to time and hit
some threes and the team hopes it struck gold
with J.J. Hickson a power forward from N.C.State.
LeBron can do so much but this team needs to
stop the winning droughts it has from time
to time and be more consistent.
see them doing so in the Central Division,
finishing second and winning around 50 games.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a lot of talent for
new head coach Scott Skiles to work with but
there always seem to be a missing piece. They
had a point in T.J. Ford but few players with
any post game so they traded to get Charlie
Villanueva from Toronto but in turn trade T.J.
Ford. The team had Mo Williams but traded him
to Cleveland (a division foe, nonetheless).
The team did do something well and traded Yi
Jianlian to New Jersey while receiving Richard
Jefferson to help them at the small forward
Bogut needs to step it up at center and so
does Villanueva at the four spot. Olympian
Michael Redd has one of the games best jumpers
(and is lefty too) but needs addition support
to keep teams from doubling up on him. Skiles
will promote defense from his players and smart
basketball. Luke Ridnour came from Seattle
and will hope to solidify his and the team's
point guard concerns. If not,
Lue is a very good backup to have and brings
championship experience. Dan Gadzuric has been
a player who can get a double double but remains
inconsistent. Austin Croshere is another player
bringing playoff experience and hustle and
rookie forward Joe Alexander looks to make
a rise in the minds of his team and basketball
fans with his shooting ability. Damon Jones
can hit the three and should help and Ramon
Sessions has gotten alot of press for his early
see this team competing for second place
in the Central division and winning 42-47 games.
Indiana Pacers are depending on the play of
new acquisition T.J. Ford and young player
Danny Granger for most of their team's success.
Mike Dunleavy will certainly be counted on
when he gets healthy and Troy Murphy can bang
and get a low double-double. Head coach Jim
O'Brien likes to run and hit the three while
paying attention to defense.The
team is solid at all positions but doesn't
have a star at one of them. Jarrett Jack will
solidify the back up point position and can
play off-guard at times also. Marquis Daniels
has been good scoring the ball to start the
season and can handle the ball at times.
team hopes Brandon Rush will be the scorer
they've lacked since Reggie Miller left down
the road. For now, Rush just needs to show
his game and learn. Jeff Foster, rookie Roy
Hibbert and Rasho Nesterovic will help in the
middle and give a decent presence but Hibbert
needs to show he's not the mid-round selction
he became in this year's draft but the player
many were ready to take in the lottery for
the team to make a run at the playoffs.This
team may need to take a step back to move forward.
By the end of the season the team should know
who it's future stars are.
see them struggling to win 30 games and no
The Chicago Bulls thought they had a winning
formula but found themselves with the number
one overall pick after a bad season last year.
The team drafted the college game's best point
guard in Derrick Rose, who led the Memphis
Tigers to the national title game. Rose looks
to have to total package of speed, strength,
skill and winning attitude and will solve some
of the Bulls' problems of the past few years.
Problems that have included Ben Gordon and
Kirk Hinrich having to play the point guard
spot a lot instead of their shooting guard
position. Gordon will thrive with a true point
guy and make Chicago reconsider giving him
a high priced contract extension.
team has athleticism in the frontcourt but
no true post players. Drew Gooden is good for
14-10 with Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas on
the incline but giving no consistent numbers
better than Gooden's.
team will have to hope that players like
Cedric Simmons and journeyman Michael Ruffin
can help out there. Lindsey Hunter is a two-time
champion who plays great perimeter defense
(despite the size) and will help in the locker
room. Larry Hughes has rarely played with a
point guard so it will be interesting to see
if can put up some nice numbers with this team
or will he be traded again. Luol Deng can score
on anyone but isn't a force on defense and
needs to get the ball even more while shooting
a better percentage. The team hired former
player and Phoenix assistant GM Vinny Del Negro
for his first head coaching job and he has
a veteran coaching staff including Del Harris
and Bernie Bickerstaff.
team could go up or down but most likely they
will finish around 35-40 wins and fight for
a eight seed playoff spot.
The Detroit Pistons traded Chauncey Billups
to Denver early this season and brought in
Allen Iverson to shake up the core that went
to six straight Eastern Conference finals.
Iverson is a hall of famer but will need to
work with the team for them to be successful.
So far the team has one one and lost one during
Iverson's stint so we will see if players like
Richard Hamilton will continue to suffer in
the transition. The team returns the same core
from previous years but the clutchness of Billups
may be missed.
year guard Rodney Stuckey played like a star
in the playoffs and probably made Joe Dumars
more likely to trade one of his stars to shake
things up. Tayshawn Prince won an Olympic gold
medal this summer and is a Scottie Pippen like
player who can do it all. Rasheed Wallace is
still a multi-purpose threat and doesn't have
to play center because the team added Kwame
Brown to play along with Jason Maxiell at the
team will certainly make the playoffs and win
a round but Iverson's willingness to get others
the ball will tell whether they can topple
the Celtics and make a run at the crown. I
see a 50-55 win season and the Central Division
to the Western Conference Look
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